Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Carole Spencer, PhD
Daniel Brunner, DPhil
As people are seeking to understand and find answers in the midst of making meaning of their life experiences, many are drawn to a deeper relationship with God. This dissertation proposes that the writings of Christian mystics, an ancient tradition of Christian spirituality, offer an invitation to a deeper understanding and relationship with God.
In this work, mysticism is defined as: Christian mysticism, at God’s invitation, is a journey of experientially knowing the God defined as Love. This journey leads to a knowing that is underneath the surface of rational thought and includes and transforms the whole self: body, mind, and spirit. Those on the journey are transformed from the inside out, which opens them to a broader consciousness of God, themselves, and the world.
The first section describes the opportunity as spiritual seekers are yearning for more in their spiritual lives. If spirituality is linked to our desire for connection, then how we understand that in relation to God is essential. Consideration is given to how spirituality is defined in current Christian circles, along with the fears attached to our spirituality, desires, and mysticism. Section two describes the ways the church and the world try to meet the conscious and unconscious desires for ourselves and those we walk alongside. Section three proposes an alternative way to support spiritual seekers with the gift of story.
Sections four and five propose a book titled The Story of God through the Eyes of Christian Mystics. Sharing the stories of selected mystics through Christian history within the social, cultural, and political context of the specific time periods in which they lived and the way each mystic related to God, will introduce the reader to the flow of thought around God through history and the potential of a lived experience with God.
Gatlin, Kathi, "The Invitation of Desire for God Opened by the Stories of Christian Mystics" (2021). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 420.